Doctor Who fans are gearing up for Ncuti Gatwa’s first full stint as the new Time Lord in the 2023 Christmas special, The Church on Ruby Road.


Gatwa made his (trouserless) debut in the third and final 60th anniversary special earlier this month, but will officially take over the reins of the role of the Doctor in the festive special.

The Christmas episode will also see the debut of Millie Gibson (Coronation Street) as new full-time companion Ruby Sunday.

Gatwa, who rose to fame on Netflix's Sex Education, was announced as Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who successor in the regular series back in May 2022.

The actor will be the first Black lead to take on the role of the time travelling hero in the new episodes from returning showrunner Russell T Davies.

More like this

So, how much do you know about Ncuti Gatwa, the 31-year-old actor who has just been given the keys to the TARDIS?

Read on for everything you need to know about the new Doctor Who lead, including where you'll have seen him before.

Who is Ncuti Gatwa?

Ncuti Gatwa with the Fifteenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver
Ncuti Gatwa with the Fifteenth Doctor's sonic screwdriver. BBC

Ncuti Gatwa is a Rwandan-Scottish actor best known for his breakout role as Eric Effiong in Netflix teen comedy Sex Education.

The actor has received three BAFTA TV Award nominations for the role, and has also won a BAFTA Scotland Award for his performance in the series.

On Sunday 8th May 2022, it was announced that Gatwa had been cast as the Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who, taking over from Jodie Whittaker in the regular series - after David Tennant's stint as Fourteen.

Davies revealed at a screening of the show's 2023 Christmas special that Gatwa only auditioned for Doctor Who once.

"I was very lucky that I did the audition with Ncuti, and it was one of the most astonishing afternoons of my life, because you were just so amazing – to actually be in a room with you and to see you face-to-face," he said.

He added: "He did one audition. Normally there's, like, 27 auditions – one! He just got it."

How old is Ncuti Gatwa?

Ncuti Gatwa is 31 years old.

He was born on 15th October 1992.

What nationality is Ncuti Gatwa?

Ncuti Gatwa is Rwandan-Scottish.

He was born in Nyarugenge, Kigali, Rwanda, and raised primarily in Edinburgh and Dunfermline in Scotland.

He'll be following in the footsteps of steps of previous Time Lords Sylvester McCoy (Dunoon), Peter Capaldi (Glasgow) and David Tennant (Bathgate), who all grew up in Scotland.

What has Ncuti Gatwa previously starred in?

Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) in Sex Education season 3
Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) in Sex Education season 3. Sam Taylor/Netflix

Ncuti Gatwa rose to prominence after he made his debut as the charming and charismatic Eric Effiong – a gay student who is best friends with Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), who gives out sex advice to his peers – in the Netflix comedy series Sex Education in 2019.

Prior to this role, Gatwa had appeared in the BBC sitcom Bob Servant (2014) and the TV adaptation of the novel Stonemouth (2015).

He has also appeared in the 2019 film Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans and the 2021 film The Last Letter from Your Lover.

In 2023, Gatwa could be seen in the Greta Gerwig film Barbie, opposite Margot Robbie in the titular role and Ryan Gosling as Ken.

Also starring in the film are his Sex Education colleagues Emma Mackey (Maeve Wiley) and Connor Swindells (Adam Groff).

What has Ncuti Gatwa said about joining Doctor Who?

Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies attend the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 08, 2022 in London, England.
Ncuti Gatwa and Russell T Davies attend the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 08, 2022 in London, England. Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Gatwa’s first full season might be yet to air, but the actor is already a couple of months into filming his second Doctor Who season, which is expected to show in 2025.

Talking about whether he plans to stay on in the role after the two seasons, he revealed in the Radio Times Christmas issue: "No idea, no plan. I just know that I’m loving it and my love for it is growing."

Upon being announced by the BBC as the Fifteenth Doctor, a statement was shared from Ncuti Gatwa.

The actor said: "There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and, of course, a little bit scared.

"This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same.

"Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself, and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground.

"The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so, as much as it’s daunting, I’m aware I’m joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart, but I am giving it all to this show."

Speaking on BBC News at the BAFTA TV Awards, Gatwa revealed he was cast as the Doctor in February 2022, admitting it was "tricky" keeping it "under wraps".

Davies described Gatwa's audition as "blazing" and called it "the very last" audition for the part that he saw.

Is Ncuti Gatwa on Instagram?

Sex Education Season 3. Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn in Episode 6 of Sex Education Season 3. Cr. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020
Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn in Sex Education season 3. Sam Taylor/NETFLIX © 2020

Yes, you can find Ncuti Gatwa's Instagram profile with the handle @ncutigatwa.

At present, Gatwa has 2.8 million followers.

It was on Instagram that the actor first teased his casting in Doctor Who with an image of four emojis: two hearts, a plus sign and a blue box.

Is Ncuti Gatwa on Twitter?

At present, Ncuti Gatwa is not on Twitter.

Doctor Who will return for The Church on Ruby Road on BBC One at 5:55pm on Christmas Day. Previous episodes are available on BBC iPlayer and on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guideto find out what’s on.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.